Kenya Flower Industry is No Bed of Roses
Groups begin push to overthrow industrial flower farms in Lake Naivasha
Washington, DC — The Council of Canadians and Food & Water Watch launched their joint campaign today to save Lake Naivasha from the clutches of corporate flower farms that have spent decades assaulting the Kenyan lake to grow flowers for export to Europe and other wealthy destinations.
“On this Valentine’s Day, it’s important that we finally stop these international operations from depleting the lake‚ waters, poisoning the surrounding environment with pesticides, and exploiting workers,” said Maude Barlow, national chairperson of the Council of Canadians. “Unless we end this, these industrial floriculture factories will continue sowing the seeds of poverty, water deprivation, and environmental carnage.”
Barlow and Wenonah Hauter, executive director of Food & Water Watch, brought their newly released report, Lake Naivasha: Withering under the Assault of International Flower Vendors, to The Wilshire restaurant in Santa Monica, California, to kick off the grassroots effort on behalf of Lake Naivasha, its people, and its wildlife.
“I witnessed chemical spraying while people working nearby wore no protective gear,” Hauter said. “The pesticides applied on the farms and in the greenhouses eventually end up in Lake Naivasha and in the groundwater, threatening people and wildlife.”
The Council of Canadians and Food & Water Watch will work with organizations around the world in this effort to expel the flower farms from Naivasha‚ shores, urge the Kenyan government to promote small-scale agriculture and eco-tourism, and encourage consumers in Canada, Europe, and the United States to purchase local, ecologically sustainable flowers.
“These flower farms are harming people and animals alike,” said Josphat Ngonyo, director of the Africa Network for Animal Welfare, one of the organizations in the campaign. “Numerous bird and fish species are disappearing from the area and that’s a problem for the environment and the people who depend on the lake.”
Please click here to view the report.